We are nearing the end of 2012. In under five days, the year 2012 will close its chapter at midnight on December 31 to usher in a brand New Year 2013. And, if I were asked to describe the year 2012, two words can suffice: Tough and tragic.
It was a tough year on the economic front. It was a year when policy decisions such as devaluation of the kwacha by 49 percent in May (now at 70 percent) and flotation of our currency coupled with rising fuel pump prices made life unbearable for many of us. Add to that, the inflation rate hovering around 33 percent and then you realise that consumers are having a bumpy ride.
Even President Joyce Banda, in her maiden Christmas and New Year Address, admitted that her government “made difficult but necessary decisions” such as the devaluation of the kwacha which led to increased cost of commodities and cost of living.
It is true that to get better, one has to endure swallowing bitter pills and that an economy cannot be fixed overnight, but the question many Malawians are asking, given events of the last eight months, is: When will the pain ease?
To move forward, our country needs to create a good environment for economic growth and indeed wealth creation. This is one song we have sang for a long time now. Time has come for us to act more and talk less.
Many service providers also continued to be a let down in 2012. For example, services offered by telecommunications operators were far from impressive. The rate of dropped calls (mafoni omangoduka) continued to rise and congestion remained the order of the day.
While water is life, many people in major cities and towns continued to have dry taps due to inefficiency or general lack of capacity by some of the water suppliers across the country, thereby being denied their right to life. The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi continued to move “towards power all day, everyday” with increased power blackouts.
Poor infrastructure is one of the factors that have seen Malawi performing badly on business climate surveys conducted by both the World Bank and the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
To improve, we need, as a country and as individuals, to set realistic targets spanning a longer period such as two or five years. Such plans should have a realistic source of income as well if they are to materialise. Time is also of essence and indeed the type of people one associates with can also contribute to success or failure.
Did we sleep and only woke up to realise 2013 is just a stone’s throw away and our plans/resolutions have just gathered dust? In my end-of-year entry two years ago, I quoted Proverbs 20 v 13 which says: “Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; Stay awake and you will have food to spare.”
In the year drawing to an end, there were also several things to be thankful to God for. To me, top on the list is the gift of life. I thank God for this.
The year was also a sad one as the country lost a sitting president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika who died in April. May his soul rest in peace.
Many of us also lost our loved ones during the year. May their souls rest in eternal peace. Personally, I still mourn the death of my sibling Kumbukani Mchulu who succumbed to cancer in October this year. Continue resting in peace Kumbu. We thank God for letting you share your life with us.